October 7, 2016 Subject:
A Few Comments on Peter Loggins' Lecture
Thanks for posting the lecture. Peter discusses interesting issues, and I definitely agree with him that you should learn more than one dance. As there are issues which I agree, I would like to note a few inaccuracies in his comments. First, Peter claims that Harlem's Savoy Ballroom did not allow the Lindy Hop to be danced socially for two years after the Lindy Hop was invented. Well, evidence refers to the fact that the social Lindy Hop scene at the Savoy started by the end of 1928, which is less than two years from the Rockland Palace dance marathon between June and July 1928 where George Snowden and Mattie Purnell devised the basic principle of the Lindy Hop. The Lindy Hop definitely was danced socially at the Savoy Ballroom in less than two years. I have discussed the issue of the birth of the Lindy Hop in my doctoral dissertation where the evidence can be found. The evidence means sources which I have used for the conclusion. Secondly, Peter claims that when a fast song was played, Savoy dancers or Savoy Lindy Hoppers (it is not quite clear, does he mean all Savoy dancers, both Savoy social dancers and Savoy Lindy Hoppers, or only Savoy Lindy Hoppers in this case) did first Peabody by going around the ballroom, and when the song was going to end, they started to lindy hop. The claim sounds a generalization, as it should be noticed that Savoy Lindy Hoppers usually danced in the Corner which was located at the northeast corner of the ballroom. Sometimes the Circle, which was part of the Corner dancing, and in which the Savoy Lindy Hoppers, but also other Savoy dancers danced, was located outside the Corner. So, it is possible, when a fast song was played, the dancers first did Peabody in the way Peter describes, but not always. For example, survived film clips do not support the claim. Thirdly, he talks about how Frankie Manning did not like to dance when Ella Fitzgerald sang. I have no doubt about that. In fact, Savoy Lindy Hoppers did not always like to dance to so-called vocal music, they preferred swing which was more like instrumental music with a strong beat. That is quite much different swing than the swing the current generations prefer. They prefer vocalized swing music with a weak beat to the swing the Savoy dancers liked. That is based on my experiences in various dance events.